Latest Blog Posts

Is Attorney General Sessions High?

April 4, 2017 by Matt Kibbe

Jeff Sessions thinks medical cannabis is just as dangerous as heroin. I don’t know what he’s smoking, but that’s just nuts.

West Virginia Proposes GOP-Backed Soda Tax

April 2, 2017 by Logan Albright

There are basically two schools of thought on the purpose of the tax code. One is to raise revenue to fund the essential functions of government, whatever those may be. The other is to use taxes as a carrot and a stick, rewarding behaviors the government finds desirable and punishing those that it doesn’t. America’s founders, the architects of the original tax code, would have found this second function, in which taxes are used for social engineering, unthinkable and against the very nature of the limited-government power structure they proposed. And yet controlling people’s behavior has become an increasingly important function of tax policy, despite its implications for individual freedom and independence. …

Denmark’s Anti-Uber Regulations Only Hurt Itself

March 29, 2017 by Logan Albright

Uber, the popular ridesharing company that has improved the lives of commuters everywhere, has announced that it will cease operations in the country of Denmark due to overregulation of its drivers.

The northern European nation had initially ruled Uber illegal back in 2014, but failing to outright ban the service, lawmakers had to resort to regulation to drive it away. The main rule that proved a sticking point for Uber was the requirement that drivers install visible meters in their cars, in effect, transforming them into taxis.

It’s difficult to see the rationale for such a regulation; ostensibly, it’s to provide transparency to passengers so they know what they are being charged as they ride. …

Retirement Is Nobody’s Business But Your Own

March 27, 2017 by Logan Albright

As someone who works around a lot of economists in Washington, DC, I am privy to a lot of big talk about the problem of retirement policy. The overwhelming consensus among the learned is that Americans, as a group, aren’t saving enough money for retirement, and that if we can gather sufficiently clever people in a room, we can figure out a way to coerce, trick, or otherwise induce workers to be more responsible with their incomes.

I tend to be the odd man out in these meetings: my contribution is generally the radical proposition that we leave people alone and let them make their own choices. …

Government’s Technological Ignorance Is Putting Secure Data at Risk

March 27, 2017 by Logan Albright

WhatsApp has gained notoriety as one of the most securely encrypted messaging services, allowing conversations to remain private and away from the watchful eyes of hackers, including those employed by the government.

Of course, encryption is a tool that, like any other, can be used for evil as well as good, and following an attack by an ISIS-inspired terrorist in London, government authorities are crying foul, demanding that the developer of WhatsApp modify its system to allow access to law enforcement.

This is essentially the same argument that the U.S. government had with Apple in the wake of the 2015 San Bernardino shootings — when the FBI demanded that the company write software to grant access to its smartphones, and Apple refused. …

These Portland Anarchists Are More Useful than Government

March 26, 2017 by Logan Albright

Who will build the roads?

In libertarian circles, this question pops up with obnoxious frequency. Arguments that government should recede and allow free people to run society without coercion are invariably met with mocking retorts that government is necessary to produce basic community services like roads. Despite the fact that privately owned and maintained roads exist all over the place, most people seem unable to grasp the concept that people, without being forced, would take care of the property they need to go to work, go to school, and obtain basic consumer goods.

But seeing is believing, and in Portland, Oregon of all places, a group of self-described anarchists are proving that you don’t actually need government to solve problems. …

How to Take Over the World: With Zuri Davis

March 21, 2017 by Matt Kibbe

Zuri Davis is just 20 years old, and already she’s making a difference in Washington, DC. Her activism is an inspiration for young people who now realize that technology can be their megaphone in democracy.

Designer Babies and the Chilling Echoes of Eugenics

March 19, 2017 by Logan Albright

What if we could use science to eliminate disease, deformity, and mental disabilities? What if the tools of modern technology could make us smarter, stronger, and more beautiful?

What if we could put an end, once and for all, to every mother’s fear that their child might be born with something not quite right?

These are the questions Chinese researchers are trying to answer. They’ve recently announced a breakthrough in using genetic engineering to remove certain defects in human embryos responsible for congenital conditions. This should be good news, right? After all, what is science for, if not to help us live longer, healthier, and more productive lives? …

The Peculiar Evils of Public Broadcasting

March 16, 2017 by Logan Albright

The sky is falling, and President Trump is proposing an end to federal funding for public broadcasting. Receiving $445 million in recent years, PBS, NPR, and a plethora of local stations benefit from federal subsidies at the taxpayers’ expense.

Budget hawks will be quick to point out that $445 million is but a fraction of a drop in the proverbial bucket of government spending, and it’s true. But no one is claiming that cutting public broadcasting will balance the budget. The question we should be asking is, “Why are we funding it in the first place?”

State-funded media suffer from one glaring, common problem: Someone — a central authority — gets to decide what kind of content is appropriate for the public, and what isn’t. …

Where’s the Justice in Letting the Rich Pay for Nicer Jail Cells?

March 13, 2017 by Logan Albright

Money can’t buy happiness, but in California, it can buy you a nicer jail cell. Several city jails have opened up their facilities to those who are willing to pay to escape more crowded, less comfortable situations. Quite naturally, this has sparked outrage and accusations of unfairness, favoritism, and a two-tiered justice system that favors the rich over the poor.

I should begin by saying that, in most situations, I don’t have a problem with people using their money to gain advantages. People with money get better education, better health care, better housing, better cars, and all around better lifestyles. That’s what money is for. If money can’t be used for those things, what good is it? …